… and Rice-a-Roni and mac & cheese and crackers and pasta boxes and granola bars and fruit snack boxes and StoveTop Stuffing and Little Debbie and candy boxes from the movie theater… the list goes on forever.
I recycle everything. We have a huge plastic bin under the counter in our kitchen that we fill almost weekly with glass jars, aluminum cans, plastic jars and bags, various cardboards, etc (we have a separate box for various papers, envelopes, and junk mail). If a box has nice images and colors on it, I save it. First step, I undo the tops and bottoms of the boxes so they lie flat:
And then I cut off all the flaps from the top and the bottom and the sides, you know, where all the nutritional information is and stuff. These pieces go right back into the recycle bin in the kitchen.
As you can see, the bottom piece of cardboard in the picture above is the light brown reverse side from a cereal box. Some boxes are different on the inside (like that Welch’s fruit snack box, the inside of it is white).
After a little measuring and trial and error, I made myself a template with a piece of plexiglass to trace out the size of the cereal box picture that will go on the front of my greeting card. Before, I was using just a piece of thin plastic, like that from the front of the packaging one of Guacamolly’s toys came in at Xmas, but it ended up being too flimsy and the edges I was tracing weren’t coming out uniformly straight. The plexiglass is way thicker but only about 1/16″ thick. It totally does the trick.
I wrote an “F” on the glass to denote the front of it, just so my tracing would always be uniform on every card I make. Even though the cuts I made in the plexiglass are straight, there’s still a little variation on the front and back.
The reason why I use clear plexiglass is so I can see through it to the box I’m cutting so I can be sure what the design is I’m using for the card. I can move it around to get just the right image I want before I trace it out. Once I decide I like it, I don’t trace it with a pencil or pen- I don’t want to leave markings on the box if I don’t cut straight enough with my scissors later. I use a pointy metal thingy (yes, that *is* the technical term for the instrument, thank you!) that came out of a set of clay-working tools. It leaves a nice little indentation in the cardboard that my scissors follow nicely.
If you have one of those desktop paper-cutter things, it might be a lot easier. In fact, I know it would. I don’t have one, so I just work with what I have. I enjoy doing absolutely everything literally by hand so using scissors to cut them is fine for me. It takes a little longer, and everyone might not have the steadiest hands for doing this kind of work, so by all means use a paper cutter if you have one!
Next I take the neat little rectangle I’ve cut out from the cereal box, attach 4 simple photo corners to it that you can get from any store, craft or otherwise, and glue them down on pre-cut cards. The cards I use are just heavy stock paper that I measure and cut down to the right size to fit whatever envelopes I’m using. I usually measure out the paper to be somewhere around 7 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ and then fold in half to use as a card. I have a huge stack of papers, all different thicknesses, that I’ve accrued over the years from who knows where. I don’t ever throw away anything because I know I’ll use it eventually. So see? I’m totally recycling that way too. It’s in my blood. Or maybe I’m just a hoarder in denial. Whatevs.
Anyway, sometimes I do go to Michaels or the nearest craft store and buy card stock, but I usually have tons laying around the house.
Here’s the finished product:
You don’t just have to use cereal boxes to make upcycled greeting cards. I’ve made them using pages and images from books too. I’ve rescued lots of books from yard sales and recycle bins. You could use tons of other things too- scrapbook paper, newspaper, magazine pages, old wrapping paper, even old postcards or old greeting cards that have been used but you still love the image on the front. Just cut it up and use it again!
I’ll post another little step by step tutorial one of these days about how to make the envelopes you see in the first few photos of this post. In the meantime, comment on here or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions or if I didn’t make anything clear enough here. *I* know what I’m talking about, but sometimes what makes sense to me doesn’t make sense to others :D